News / Africa

Locally-Produced Fuel at Zimbabwe's Pumps

Fuel blended with 10 percent locally-made and eco-friendly ethanol went on sale in Zimbabwe's capital this week, at a lower cost than fuel that is fully imported.  The project, which is possibly Africa’s largest eco-project to date, has created more jobs in Zimbabwe than any other in the last 20 years.  It was also the brainchild of businessman Billy Rautenbach, who is the target of European Union and U.S. sanctions.

So far 7,000 hectares of sugar cane has been planted in southern and eastern Zimbabwe.  The harvest is being fed into a huge new refinery nearby which produces ethanol.

The plant, run by a company called Green Fuel, is set to pump out about 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s fuel needs within the next few months.

For motorists this is a boon, as fuel blended with ethanol -- now available at some pumps in Harare -- is cheaper than fully imported traditional fuel.

Consumers were filling up this week in Harare. "We have been waiting very much for this kind of product.  Because I travel a lot and at one time I was in Brazil and we have got plenty of land around here so what is important is utilizing the land, we have plenty of land. I [am] very, very happy about tha," one consumer state.

Lilian Muungani, the public relations officer for Green Fuel, said the project began two years ago when private agricultural companies signed a deal with the state land company, the Agriculture Rural Development Authority, to take over and rehabilitate its collapsed sugar cane estates.  In the process, a massive reconstruction and expansion of irrigation systems was undertaken.

The refinery was partly imported from Brazil, with bits of it manufactured in Harare and a team of experts from Brazil and Mauritius overseeing the project.

Green Fuel says it plans to plant and irrigate at least 50,000 hectares of sugar cane to produce two million liters of ethanol a day.

A garage owner in Harare, Norias Chibeke, said people had quickly bought out the first delivery of the blend of unleaded fuel and 10 percent ethanol. "Most of the motorists were eager to know how it works. So they are saying we want to see how it goes.  We received about 10,000 [liters] and we sold it in one-and-a-half days because the price was good for them.  The unleaded we are selling at 1.42 a liter and the blend we are selling at 1.36.”

The company says Billy Rautenbach is the “brains” behind the vast project, which has provided 4,500 jobs so far in a poverty-stricken part of the country.

Rautenbach says he cannot be part of the company because he is on the E.U. and U.S. sanctions lists and any stake he might hold would put the project at risk.

No E.U. or U.S. citizen can trade with about 120 Zimbabweans, mostly top members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, plus several banks and state mining companies.  The sanctions were originally imposed because of alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe supporters during the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections.

Criticism of ZANU-PF increased after the government displaced hundreds of thousands of urban people in Harare in 2005.

Green Fuel says no one has been displaced by this project, which is also supplying irrigation for the first time to peasant farmers working in dry areas around the sugar cane fields.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid